Reviewed: Tuseno Watches – First 42

Reviewed: Tuseno Watches – First 42

Disclaimer: This watch was provided at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review.

There is something immediately likeable about Tuseno watches. Whether it is the font of the numbers and text on the face, the slim but robust looking case, or their selection of straps. Tuseno’s Instagram is full of wonderful photography, and I have definitely followed them for photography inspiration as well as for their lovely watches.

About Tuseno

A Swedish company that began with a kickstarter campaign four years ago, Tuseno was founded by Alexander and Johan, a couple of watch enthusiasts. What they found to be missing from the watch market was an up-scale timepiece with a refined style that didn’t require a large step-up in terms of price. Though they are a relatively young brand, there’s no denying the appeal of a really well executed, classically styled watch – something Tuseno does well.

Tuseno First 42

The first 42 is offered in some really nice colour ways. I chose the silver/blue, which denotes a silver case with a blue face. But there are also silver/black, silver/white and gold/black options available. The gold/black was a very close second.

Shipping and Packaging

Receiving my package from Tuseno was a really cool experience. I’m not normally one for the whole “unboxing” deal, but I was blown away at the care and quality of the presentation. I guess that’s the thing about first impressions… you only get one. Tuseno knocked it out of the park.

After opening up the shipping box, I was presented with a beautifully textured black box with a simple statement: “Tuseno” and “Goteborg”. Lifting the lid allows a front flap to fall, releasing the actual watch case to be lifted out.

Once you open that box, here is how the watch is presented. The black box is lined in white, and the watch is displayed to you on a bed of soft textures. It sits there like a pearl, waiting to be plucked.

Quality and Construction

The watch is powered by the Seiko VK64, which is a meca-quartz movement. I wanted to learn a bit more about what that meant, so some time googling provided the following insights. Back in the 80’s, watch makers FrΓ©dΓ©ric Piguet and Jaeger-LeCoultre wanted to address the lack of mechanical feel – the satisfying snick and instant repositioning of the hand when you reset the chrono – while maintaining the simplicity and reliability of a quartz powered movement. While I can’t make a meaningful comment on whether one movement is better than another, I can appreciate the balance between performance, reliability and tactile elements. For instance, I drive a manual transmission car. I know there are automatics that can perform better, faster, more consistently; but there is something to be said about the directness of a mechanical human-machine interaction. Clicking either of the buttons definitely has that satisfying feel of quality and metallic engagement.

One of my favourite aspects of the construction is the quick-change functionality of the bracelets and straps. On the underside of the strap, there’s a lever just big enough to catch with your fingernail that slides to release the pin attaching the watch to the band. It’s the first time I’ve experienced it, and the ease of use is incredible. No need to dig out the tiny screwdriver set, or watch a YouTube video about how to do it with floss so you don’t scratch the case.

The blue sundial face is really quite beautiful. Depending on the angle of light, it shifts from a deep sapphire blue to a vibrant almost electrified blue. The simple and slightly embossed Arabic numbers and the sunken sub-dials add depth and sophistication. Look and feel of the case is at once refined and substantial, with a nice weight – not clunky or intruding – just solid feeling.

Design and Styling

At 42mm, the case is sized just right – slim, with a subtly domed crystal. Refined buttons and a crown etched with a T add to the classy look. I was offered a choice of two straps, and went with the slightly retro looking mesh bracelet, and the rich, warm brown suede strap. Either option works beautifully with the silver case and blue sundial face.

I was surprised that the suede strap didn’t come as a traditional two piece, but as a one-piece with the two suede straps connected with a hidden deployant clasp. This is the type that keeps the two halves of the strap connected, but unfolds so you can fit your hand through. Then, once it’s done up appears to be a traditional buckle type clasp. Again, the feel of doing up this strap is a satisfying mechanical click that produces a solid connection with no wiggling or uncertainty. The release is the same.

The stainless steel mesh bracelet is a more traditional flip up clasp, with the addition of a secondary latch for extra security. The mesh bracelet is quite flexible and comfortable to wear. I think the aesthetic is well matched to the classic design of the case and face.

Wearing the Tuseno First 42

My Tuseno watch is a pleasure to wear. As mentioned previously, the weight is a great balance of substance and comfort, adding to the feeling of quality. Having this combined with a case that’s slim enough to not disrupt my shirt cuffs too much is a great benefit. The mechanical aspects of operating the clasp or chronograph is a tactile pleasure. My one complaint about the watch is with wearing the suede strap. The hidden deployant clasp is uncomfortable. I’ve got the band set to be a bit looser than I’d like, but I can’t seem to find a way to not have the inside of my wrist be irritated by the underside of the clasp after a day’s wear. It’s especially noticeable if I’m at my desk and typing for a period of time as it wears against the skin constantly. As much as I love the look of the strap, I’ll be looking for a traditional two piece replacement.

Final Thoughts

Tuseno watches are an example of a successful balance of style, quality and value. I’m really impressed. This is a brand I will be keeping my eye on to see where and how far they go. Currently they offer the First 42 and First 38 styles (same design, different sizes) and the Blackwater – an upscale automatic. If you’re looking for a well executed, classic time piece, Tuseno should definitely be on your list.

-Colin

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